The wreck of the FV Trident, which sank off the Caithness coast 35 years ago, was found by amateur divers in 2001.
This discovery, and the fact that the victims’ families had never accepted the conclusions of the previous investigation into the tragedy, prompted the former Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Byers) to order the re-opening the formal investigation into her loss. This was in 2002.
Inexplicably, it then took our government seven years to set up this new investigation, which is now, finally, to be opened on October 19, 2009.
It is, however, very fortunate that the new inquiry will be conducted under the chairmanship of Sir Stephen Young QC, Sheriff Principal of Grampian Highland and Islands.
In 2002, Sir Stephen, then sheriff of Paisley, headed the investigation into the 1994 Mull of Kintyre helicopter crash and had the fortitude to openly dismiss the idea of pilot error, stating in his report that the conclusions of the RAF investigation, which had put the blame for the fatal accident on the crew, were "flawed".
The appointment of Sir Stephen should therefore be taken as a good omen.
We, on our part, will be following the proceedings and direction of the Trident investigation with great interest.